Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program
Solicitation Issue Date: Contingent on Appropriations
Deadline: Contingent on Appropriations
Eligible applicants for this program are high-need LEAs, SEAs on behalf of one or more high-need LEAs, and IHEs. High-need LEA applicants and SEA applicants on behalf of one or more high-need LEAs must propose to work in partnership with an eligible institution of higher education (eligible IHE), which may include institutions that serve diverse learners such as an Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Tribal College or university (TCU), or other Minority-Serving Institution (MSI). Eligible IHE applicants must propose to work in partnership with one or more high-need LEAs or an SEA.
Award Information & Duration
$400K-$1.2M annually/ (average annual award $800K) for up to five years
Estimated # of Awards
The purpose of the Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) grant program is to expand the pipeline of high-quality, trained providers to address the shortages of mental health service professionals in schools served by high-need Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). This will be done by supporting innovative partnerships to train school-based mental health service providers for employment in schools and LEAs.
The partnerships must include (1) one or more high-need LEAs or a State educational agency (SEA) on behalf of one or more high-need LEAs and (2) one or more eligible institutions of higher education (eligible IHE). Partnerships must provide opportunities to place postsecondary education graduate students in school-based mental health fields into high-need schools served by the participating high-need LEAs to complete required field work, credit hours, internships, or related training, as applicable, for the degree or credential program of each student. In addition to the placement of graduate students, grantees may also develop mental health career pathways as early as secondary school, through career and technical education opportunities, or through paraprofessional support degree programs at local community or technical colleges.
How this grant can be used:
This program includes one Absolute Priority and three Competitive Preference Priorities.
Absolute Priority—Expand Capacity of High-need LEAs: Projects that propose to expand the capacity of high-need LEAs in partnership with eligible IHEs to train school-based mental health services providers, with the goal of expanding the number of these professionals available to address the shortages of school-based mental health services providers in high-need schools.
Competitive Preference Priority 1—Increase the Number of Qualified School-Based Mental Health Services Providers in High-Need LEAs Who Are from Diverse Backgrounds or From Communities Served by the High-Need LEAs: Projects that propose to increase the number of qualified school-based mental health services providers in high-need LEAs who are from diverse backgrounds or who are from communities served by the high-need LEAs.
Applicants must describe how their proposal to increase the number of school-based mental health services providers who are from diverse backgrounds or who are from the communities served by the high-need LEA will help increase access to mental health services for students within the high-need LEA and best meet the mental health needs of the diverse populations of students to be served.
Competitive Preference Priority 2—Promote Inclusive Practices: Projects that propose to provide evidence-based pedagogical practices in mental health services provider preparation programs or professional development programs that are inclusive regarding race, ethnicity, culture, language, disability, and for students who identify as LGBTQI+, and that prepare school-based mental health services providers to create culturally and linguistically inclusive and identity-safe environments for students when providing services.
Applicants must describe how their proposal to provide evidence-based pedagogical practices in mental health services provider preparation programs or professional development programs will prepare school-based mental health services providers to provide inclusive practices and to create culturally and linguistically inclusive and identity-safe environments for students when providing services.
Competitive Preference Priority 3—Partnerships with HBCUs, TCUs, or other MSIs: Applicants that propose to implement their projects by or in partnership with one or more of the following entities:
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
- Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)
- Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)
Karnes City Independent School District (TX) | 2023 | $1,685,068
Rural Area Mental Health Professional Enhancement and Development (RAMPED) Program includes five high-need local education agencies operating 12 high-need school campuses who have partnered to create the Rural Area Mental Health Professional Enhancement and Development (RAMPED) program. Working collaboratively with two Institutions of Higher Education, the RAMPED program will increase the number of school counselors, social workers, and psychologists working in rural and low-income communities, thereby meeting the Absolute Priority of this grant program to expand the capacity of high-need LEAs. The RAMPED program has five distinct phases. The phases are (1) Filling the Gap, (2) Growing Our Own, (3) Community Re-Specialization, (4) Building Capacity, and (5) Sustaining the Program. The first phase, filling the Gap, involves recruiting school mental health professionals seeking to complete their fieldwork to work in RAMPED schools. This is an essential requirement as it will take up to two years for the program to develop its own school for mental health professionals. The second phase, Growing Our Own, will open the RAMPED program up to local area school staff, focusing on schoolteachers and counselors wishing to re-specialize by securing a credential as a school mental health professional. If there are not enough schoolteachers and counselors to fill the available slots in the RAMPED program, then phase three will be initiated. In phase three, Community Re-Specialization, of the RAMPED program will be initiated. During this phase, the program will accept referrals from community members willing to re-specialize and obtain a school mental health credential. The focus will be on community members with a teaching certificate or local area mental health professionals willing to work in the school district. Phase four, Building Capacity, involves ensuring school mental health professionals are always available in the community to fill open positions. Thus, the RAMPED program will provide slots for up to 56 individuals to secure their school mental health professional certification. Finally, phase five, Sustaining the Program, will utilize the results of the RAMPED program’s rigorous evaluation to help secure local and state funding to sustain those components of the program that are deemed effective. Thus, the RAMPED program will meet the requirements of Competitive Preference Priorities [CPP] 1, 2, and 3.
Winchester School Board (VA) | 2023 | $1,168,192
Winchester Public Schools, VA will serve as a single LEA applicant in partnership with James Madison University and George Mason University for the Mental Health Services Professional (MHSP) Demonstration grant program. Our MHSP program, WISH: Winchester Investing in Student Mental Health will address Absolute Priority 1 by creating a new pipeline to place our IHE partners’ school counseling and school psychologist graduate students into our high-need schools to complete their required field work, internships, and training to complete their degrees. WISH will target 4,277 students in our four Title I elementary schools, one intermediate school, one middle school, and one high school; place 8 graduate students annually in our high-need schools; and hire 2 graduates annually for employment. Our three goals are to 1) Enhance capacity to provide school-based mental health services to students in high-need schools by establishing a pipeline for continual recruiting and training (Competitive Priority 1); 2) Establish field placements in partnerships with IHEs to train and support graduate students from diverse backgrounds and our community (Competitive Priority 1); and 3) Provide evidence-based professional learning to graduate students and providers (Competitive Priority 2). Key objectives and activities include: increased providers trained to provide school-based mental health services, providers placed in an internship, providers hired by our division, number of diverse school-based mental health providers (Competitive Priority 1), students identified for school-based mental health services, student and family awareness of mental health services, and capacity to hire and retain school-based mental health providers; decreased discipline referrals, suicide, and suicide ideation; and improved student attendance, school engagement, and academic achievement. We will partner with two IHEs, three local mental health services providers, Department of Social Services, and a local branch of the American Counseling Association.
Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District (CA) | 2023 | $689,186
Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District (ADUSD) is a rural and low-income school district located in California, seeks funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program (MHSPD). AADUSD serves students in grades TK-12 and their families from the communities of Acton and Agua-Dulce. AADUSD is comprised of one elementary, one middle, and one high school and provides oversight to an additional nine (9) public charter schools in our attendance zone. All AADUSD schools are Title I schools. The K-12 enrollment for the 2022-23 school year for all participating high-needs LEAs and school sites is 11,912. At 64.8%, the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals in our schools meets the high-need school definition included in the NIA. Our MHSPD grant expands the capacity of AADUSD by establishing a partnership with the University of Southern California. This partnership was established to place graduate students of their academic programs into schools served by AADUSD and partnering LEAs to complete required fieldwork and credit hours for a social work degree. (Absolute priority). Project activities and goals (in bold) include (1) Partner with IHEs to expand the pipeline of mental health providers into high-needs schools; (2) Increase the number of qualified school-based mental health providers (74 over the five-year grant period) by hiring graduate students to complete their field learning experience in participating school sites and hiring IHE graduates to be assigned to high-needs schools; (3) Increase access to school-based mental health services; (4) Increase the number of school-based mental health providers who are from diverse backgrounds (Competitive Priority #1); and (5) Promote inclusive practices that include evidence-based cultural and linguistic pedagogical practices in provider preparation (Competitive Priority #2). We have 21 corresponding objectives related to these three goals, including the six GPRA measures. Details are included in the Narrative.